Sello S Alcock
Sello S Alcock

The great Kaizer Chiefs tragedy: No more Jabu Pules

So there I was watching SuperSport the other night and having to stomach another drawn result by Kaizer Chiefs — another one among so many that I have lost count!

I was just about ready to curse my way out of the lounge and make my way to the bedroom when I decided to hang around a bit and listen to what the “talking heads” led by “Aquafresh smile” Thomas Mlambo had to say about Chiefs.

Mlambo went on a tirade about how the Chiefs coach should now be known as “Ertudraw”, before passing the baton on to Doctor “Nkemeleng” Khumalo who just chose to sit on the fence and not blame anyone back at Naturena.

And then Neil “Mokoko” Tovey, who has always never been afraid to speak his mind, stepped into the fray.

“I just do not think there is quality there. I mean, where are the Doc Khumalos?” said Tovey.

Aha! I got up and jumped all over the place; I was vindicated.

You, see the most tragic thing about the current Kaizer Chiefs crop is that there are no more players of the calibre of the one formerly known as Jabu Pule (now Mahlangu).

I mean, no disrespect to Doctor Khumalo — as he himself pointed out earlier in the same show, he was always urged on by the likes of Tovey in the middle of the park. Although brilliant, Doc Khumalo was never the most industrious player to take to the field for Kaizer Chiefs or Bafana.

Tovey, though never the most talented football player of our time, had a fire that has never been matched by any latter-day Kaizer Chiefs or Bafana captain.

Tovey, the player, had loads and loads of heart and would never give up even in the midst of being sold dummies all over the field and outpaced by the likes of Siyabonga Nomvethe.

You could see the fire in his eyes every time he screamed instructions to his fellow players.

“Shuffle” Pule had Tovey’s fire but was also blessed with an abundance of talent and, of course, chutzpah! (And a self-destructive streak, but that is a story for another day.)

Shuffle was fearless and had the remarkable ability to turn games. I once watched the player, then in the Chiefs development ranks, play against a Brazilian youth team that featured the likes of Ronaldinho — and Pule did not flinch. At half-time, he could be heard rebelliously urging the other players on as if he were playing another “challenge” match in Daveyton somewhere.

It was also a great pleasure playing alongside Pule because as long as he was on the field, you always felt you were in with a chance.

Even later on, as I watched his various teams play, I always felt that as long as he was still on the field of play there was a chance for a comeback.

When I look at the current crop of Chiefs players, I see mediocrity. The great Kaizer Chiefs are now a breeding ground for mediocrity. In the Chiefs of today, even if the players show a bit of heart, there has been no replication of Jabu Pule.

You know your team is in trouble when a player who should have been opening the batting for the South African cricket team is playing as a striker. No disrespect to Kaizer Jnr; he was a great cricketer, and he should have just stuck to that sport. The country would have been equally grateful and advocate Arendse would have been over the moon.

And why should the rest of Pirates- and Sundowns-supporting South Africa care? Well, we should all be worried; in fact, Parreira should be having sleepless nights, because the great Kaizer Chiefs, alongside Pirates, have always produced (even if poached from elsewhere) the Jabu Pules. If you are a patriotic South African, then you cannot ignore the fact that between them, Pirates and Chiefs have always fed us our Jabu Pules.

But then again, maybe a revolution is in the offing — as the other night showed when former Bafana great Thomas Madigage, in his now customary ZCC headgear, chased after head coach Gavin Hunt following SuperSport’s winning goal in a league humdinger that for once did not feature Pirates and Chiefs!

  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Couldn’t have said it better.

    I’m a Chiefs man (he said with embarrassment) but I have to say that Kaizer must hang his head in shame when he comes to the realisation that Chiefs has not produced a quality player worthy of making THIS Bafana squad in over half a decade. In fact, the last Chiefs-grown quality player was the same said Pule and he didn’t make any ripples at an international level.

    At least Pirates produce their short, quick ineffectual midget clones of Makhanya/Mokoena a dime-a-dozen every season.

  • Mzoxolo Budaza

    In his day Doctor Khumalo was a far greater player than Jabu. If you don’t believe this go ask Dunga and Frank Amankwah

  • MKT

    That is exactly the problem at Kaizer Chiefs – lack of stars in the current team. The sooner Mr Motaung realises ukuthi his team is full of mediocre players the better !

    Sad state of affairs at Naturena.

  • Zulu

    In all earnest truth…the whole PSL the past 2 years is mediocre!!! There is not even one star local players…they are all boring…cant do simple passes! It a national crisis! When the top finacial & history teams are outside the top four…that bad for local soccer, serously that raises a questions! But 3 years ago…it wasnt like this…why a quick demise??? I blame 2010 world cup…since we won the bid…all soccer bosses & adminstrators are getting greedy & focusing on making a huge buck from local soccer through the 2010 mayhem! I hate the fact I have not been at a staduim since early last year because of current kak…and it even worse that the Mr. K-word Khoza (my team) & Mr. K Motaung are not concerned about that and resolving it because ABSA & NEDBANK are financing my absent (R20) by millions!!!!!!! Maybe we as fans should toyi & boycott games…maybe they will listen!

  • Lehlohonolo

    Spot-on, there’s just no talent…and then we hear stories about how good Thabo Mooki is, how Zwane is pacey – and how Scara Ngobese is talented – the Scara one really makes my blood boil, cos all he does is pretty much what Ndum..Ndum calles playing for Shibobos – even when the ball is needed up-front… he piss me off…okay, maybe talking soccer is not such a good diversion from depressing South AFrican stories (race, load shedding, and all)… so i’ll end hear, lest i spoil my entire weekend!

  • XNM

    Thank you for your refreshing post however I disagree with you on the question of Dr. Khumalo. Doc is one of the best players that the SA foot ball world has ever seen. The problem with him he underestimated his skills and also lacked the chutzpah that sportsmen of his caliber are supposed to have.

    Another thing Doc has failed to produce a play maker that can, like him, put the ball at the foot of the striker with unthinkable ease. SA coaches must understand that it is not enough to rely on natural talent only. They must train or create strikers who can put the ball at the back of the net.

    Thanks boet, refreshing peace of work

  • Lelo

    You said….>>

    I don’t watch cricket so I would have missed out on that eye candy….am glad he’s playing soccer. Besides, he’s just trying to make a living and really there are worse players. Rock on Jnr.
    KC will be fine next season, this is just not our season…(gosh, I can’t believe how low on the log we are!)

  • Lelo

    Oops, meant to say: YOU SAID: “No disrespect to Kaizer Jnr; he was a great cricketer, and he should have just stuck to that sport”

  • Musa

    Apologies, I caught this late but who is this man that does not understand football!!??

    Of cause Doc Khumalo was not the most industrious player in Kaizer Chiefs or Bafana Bafana, he didn’t need to be!!Neither was Pele, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo, Kaka, Rivaldo….Are you English or something!!???

    I guess we are dealing with the type that thinks Cheeseboy, Sergie and that Radebe(Wits) striker are the worlds best footballers. So much industry, so little reward.
    Didn’t read the rest of your blog, thinking about the day we (Dr Khumalo) mesmerised Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Ghana, Cameroon, DRC (whatever it was called back then),Zambia etc… not to mention the joys Doctor brought to domestic football…Anyway, Sello was in the advertising industry, we all know they type….probabaly spent a year trying to ‘find himself’!
    No offence, you asked for it!

  • Michael Trapido

    Sello I’m reporting you to the SA Committee For Bad Taste.

    You’re just lucky that Chiefs aren’t going down this year.

    What a bunch of useless……Up the one and only Bucs!!